FAQs

Have a question about our application process? A set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) is provided below. 

Q. Where does the Foundation's money come from? 

A. Blue Shield of California Foundation is funded entirely by contributions from Blue Shield of California, a mission-based, not-for-profit health plan founded by physicians in 1939.

Q. How much money does your foundation award each year? 

A. Annual funding amounts vary from year to year. In recent years, our grantmaking has ranged from $25 to $35 million. 

Q. You are Blue Shield of California Foundation. Does that mean that you only fund organizations in the state of California? 

A. Our work is dedicated to California issues. Funding may be provided to organizations, regardless of geography, that are working on those issues. 

Q. I understand that your Foundation approved a new strategic plan in 2017. How will this change your work going forward? 

A. Our new strategic direction aims to broaden and deepen our impact by generating long-term solutions that address the root causes of poor health and violence. By addressing these drivers, we intend to create positive, pervasive changes that result in healthy and empowered Californians.

This plan will build new partnerships and reshape existing ones, and will allow the Foundation to optimize our impact. We hope to spark inventive new ideas, learn from implementation of those ideas, and then share what we learn to move toward transformational changes that improve the health and the lives of all Californians. 

Q. Which types of nonprofit organizations are eligible for a grant from your Foundation?

A. Blue Shield of California Foundation prioritizes funding for the following organizations:

  • Have a mission consistent with the mission and goals of Blue Shield of California Foundation.

  • Be a nonprofit and tax-exempt organization under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Code (IRC) and defined as a public charity under 509(a) 1, 2, or 3 (types I, II, or a functionally integrated type III), or a governmental, tribal, or public entity.
  • Have a reputation for credibility and integrity
  • Primarily serve Californians

What We Don't Fund

  • Sponsorships for special events, competitions, athletic events, or conferences
  • Direct services to patients or clients, including medical, dental, counseling, specialty, or social services
  • Research on specific diseases or conditions (e.g.,  Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes)
  • Capital construction or endowment campaigns
  • Equipment purchase, implementation, or maintenance (e.g., electronic health record systems, mobile health vans)
  • Individual outreach and enrollment activities for public health insurance programs
  • Individuals’ insurance coverage or medical expenses
  • Religious organizations for religious purposes
  • Political causes, candidates, organizations, or campaigns
  • Individuals
  • 509 (a) 3, type III supporting organizations that are not "functionally integrated"

Q. Does your foundation accept unsolicited requests?

A. Most Blue Shield of California Foundation funding is by invitation only and made through Foundation-led initiatives. When available, funding opportunities with an open call for applications are shared via our website and announced via email. To stay abreast of when these opportunities arise, please register for our mailing list here.  

Q. Does your foundation make grants to for-profit organizations?

A. Blue Shield of California Foundation awards a limited number of grants to for-profit organizations for projects that are charitable in nature. Preference is given to charitable organizations and public agencies.

Q. Does your foundation provide grant funding for sponsorships or event fundraisers? 

A. Blue Shield of California Foundation provides grant funding to support sponsorships in a very limited number of cases, and will be considered only when requested by an active Foundation grantee or funding partner. Grants to support fundraising events are not provided. 

Q. If my organization already has a grant from Blue Shield of California Foundation, may we apply for another grant from your foundation?

A. Yes. Organizations may apply for multiple grants from the Blue Shield of California Foundation. 

Q.  What are the most common reasons why a proposal is declined?

A. There are several reasons why the Foundation may decide to decline a proposal; however, some of the most commonly declined proposals are those that:

  • Do not match the current set of funding opportunities available;
  • Do not meet our standards of operational or programmatic effectiveness; and/or
  • Do not fall within our geographic boundaries.

Q. Could you share a copy of a successful proposal?

A. We do not share proposals as they are considered confidential documents.